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  • Writer's pictureSimon Long

Can Edwardstone cement his Arkle claims with Wayward Lad victory?

12:45 RESTITUTION Trainer won this race with hurdles debutants in 2015 and 2017; likely type, trainer Alan King.

1:20 EDWARDSTONE Wide-margin Grade 1 winner last time; deserves to be viewed as the one to beat, trainer Alan King, Edwardstone is rated 16lb and more superior to the other four entries in Monday’s Grade 2 Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton, so even with his 5lb penalty he would be guaranteed to start a red-hot favourite.

Alan King is taking no chances with Britain's leading Arkle hope Edwardstone after rerouting his top-class star to Kempton for his latest stepping stone towards the Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old endured a torrid start to life over fences, unseating on his first attempt last season before being brought down at Warwick in November behind the reopposing Do Your Job.

However, he righted those wrongs when striking at the highest level in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown this month, and makes a swift return having initially been pencilled in for his next appearance at Warwick in February.

"I'd said after his terrific win in the Henry VIII at Sandown he'd probably run next in the Kingmaker at Warwick, as a stepping stone to the Arkle at Cheltenham," King said. "However, that's nearly two months away and you don't know what's going to happen with the weather – or if there might be another lockdown.

Alan said:”Edwardstone produced a terrific performance to win the Henry VIII at Sandown. He has come out of that race great and schooled well last week, and the clock certainly backs up the form as his winning time was four seconds faster than the Tingle Creek.

“It was great for Robert (Abrey) and Ian (Thurtle) to celebrate a Grade 1 winner out of their own mare, and the Arkle is now Edwardstone’s prime target at Cheltenham in March.”

Edwardstone announced himself as Britain’s big hope for the Arkle when bolting up by 16 lengths in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown this month and that was good enough for a Racing Post Rating of 164. That would have won seven of the last ten runnings of this.

Simonsig and Altior (167) in 2012 and 2016 and Shishkin (170) last year are the exceptions and the crucial difference between Edwardstone and the other Arkle winners who competed in the last ten seasons is they were trained by Henderson. Edwardstone is with Alan King.

King has never won this race and his last two Arkle winners, Voy Por Ustedes and My Way De Solzen, didn’t compete. However, My Way De Solzen was beaten in the Sandown race that Edwardstone won and Edwardstone is a better horse at this stage of his chase career.

3:10 CANELO Won the Rowland Meyrick last Christmas but was in better form at the time,

trainer Alan King.

3:40 LORD BADDESLEY Record of 2-3 in completed starts over hurdles; possibilities back in this sphere, trainer Chris Gordon.

Photo image of Edwardstone winning at Sandown.



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